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Morning Coffee: Citi tipped to take on Stan Chart staff in Asia

Citi is now talking up the success of its Asian business in the wake of largely disappointing global fourth quarter results released last week. “All the elements of the Citi model in Asia clicked in 2014,” Steven Bird, Citi’s Asia Pacific chief executive, told Finance Asia on Monday. “On the banking side it was a very strong year that’s reflected in increased wallet share with key clients such as [mergers and acquisitions] and capital markets,” he added. Citi’s Asia ex-Japan revenues were up 3% year-on-year in Q4 and over the course of last year the region was the bank’s largest regional contributor to earnings outside North America.

As the busy post-bonus hiring season looms, Citi will certainly be on the radar of job seekers in Singapore and Hong Kong in investment banking, corporate banking and consumer banking. As we reported in October, Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered have become the de facto “big three” foreign banks in terms of Asian recruitment volumes. While the trio have long been prone to poaching from each other, recruiters we’ve spoken with in Hong Kong and Singapore recently tip Citi to take on more staff from Standard Chartered this year, given the latter’s plans to slash retail and equities jobs in Asia.

Citi’s Asian ambitions were also made apparent last week when it named Gonzalo Luchetti as its new head of retail banking for Asia Pacific, transferring him to Hong Kong from New York. The fact that he will also continue his current job as global head of wealth management and insurance for Citi’s consumer bank reflects the growing importance that the US firm attaches to capturing market share from Asian consumers. Twelve of its 24 consumer markets are located in the region.

Meanwhile:

Regulatory troubles ahead of launch of Chinese options trading. (South China Morning Post)

Behold the Asian market where banking recruitment is set to go up by 25% this year. (Financial Express)

Problems with Hong Kong-Shanghai stock link create China equity-derivatives boom. (Reuters)

Swiss franc shock is reminder of why Hong Kong should keep dollar peg, says finance chief. (South China Morning Post)

HSBC banker explains why being gay was crucial to his career success. (The Guardian)

China’s banking system look set to be “stable” this year. (Moody’s)

Most Singapore employees are on the brink of stress, says survey. (SMB Asia)

Westpac boosts its programme to recruit indigenous Australian students. (SBS)


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